Getting Started in Photography
Recently, during a NAPfS photo walk, one of the members asked me what he could do to learn and get better. He was new to photography and I think feeling a little overwhelmed by the seemingly endless techniques, technologies and methods photography involves. I feel his pain. There is always more to learn, but you have to start somewhere…
Getting started in photography is hard so where is do you start?
Besides taking lots of photos and taking part in photo club, I suggested he look at as much photography as he could. Find photography that inspires you and look at photography that perplexes you. For me, that process started with a TV show and that’s what I want to talk about today.
Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge
Like many people of my cohort, Art Wolfe’s Travel’s to the Edge launched me into photography. I watched Art explore distant locations, meet the locals, connect with them on a personal level and make spectacular photos in the process. The series follows Art through Africa, India, South America, Antarctica and many other locations. Every week I saw a beautifully made travel show. Unlike all the other travel TV, this show focused on photography.
Travels to the Edge Affected Me
It’s hard to explain the effect the show had on me. I’ve always wanted to go new places. I’ve got a serious case of wanderlust and here was a man that appeared to have the exact same affliction and making exceptional images in the process. Art was the first world class photographer I became aware of. The show and his work had a profound affect on what I consider good photography. It was around this time and because of this show that I bought my first real camera and started using it seriously. Work like Art’s was what I hoped to eventually make.
The show, and the photos Art produced during the show, gave me a reference and a measuring stick. While, I didn’t necessarily understand how to make that type of photo, or even how to evaluate Art’s photos, I did know that his photos were captivating and mine where not. I figured when I could produce something that I wanted to stare at as much as his photos, I would be getting somewhere (I’m still working on it!).
The show is not available on Netflix or Amazon Prime at the moment (March 2017), but it is available on DVD and is a great addition to a photography library and who knows, maybe your local PBS station is re-airing it or streaming it on PBS.org. Check your local library. Many will loan DVDs and may have it in their education section.
Tales by Light (Netflix)
Tales by Light is a Netflix Original series that follows different world class photographers as the practice their craft. Anyone that watched Travels to the Edge will feel right at home watching Tales by Light. Like that show, Canon sponsored Tales by Light, and Art Wolfe hosts 2 of the 6 episodes in season one. Tales by Light has a very similar style to Travels to the Edge.
Because different photographers host each episode, the show covers a wider range of photography genres. Some episodes are about cross cultural travel photography of Art Wolfe. Others are about hardcore underwater wildlife (e.g. whales) photography. There is even an episode about photographing adventure sports.
The best part is that you can watch Tales by Light right now on Netflix. You can watch season 1 on Netflix now. Season 2 is not yet available but hopefully will be soon.
He is a self taught experiential learner who is addicted to the possibilities that new (to him) gear open up. He loves to share the things he has worked out. Andrew started with a passion for landscape and night photography and quickly branched out to work in just about every form of photography. He is an ex-software developer with extensive experience in the IT realm.